What is Bail?
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What Are Bail Bonds?
After someone is arrested by the police and charged with a crime, they can be released from prison by either posting bail or securing a bond. The judge will typically determine the amount of bail based on factors such as the seriousness of the alleged crime, the possibility that the suspect will commit further crimes after his release, and the possibility that the suspect will try to flee from the court before the trial. A judge may take into account any additional factors that could influence the case, or even reject bail completely. The eighth amendment to the US Constitution prohibits “excessive bail” but does not require the court to provide bail.
To help people get a clearer understanding of what bail is, and what its place is within the justice
system, we thought it would be helpful to take a close look at the concept of bail, and how it can
help people get released from jail after being arrested.
The Difference Between Bail and Bond
The words “bail” and “bond” are often used in a completely interchangeable way when most
people are talking about getting released from prison. While these two terms are closely related,
they do not refer to the same thing. Bail is the amount of money that a defended is expected to
pay to the court so that they can get out of jail. A bond is provided on a defendant’s behalf by a
third party, typically a bail bond company.
Bail-in and of itself is not a punishment. Instead, this is a way to ensure that a defendant will
return to court at an appointed time as part of their case. In this way, bail can be understood as a
type of collateral submitted to the court to ensure that the defendant returns for the remainder of
the criminal case after their release from prison. If the defendant does not appear or violates the
terms of the release, then the amount paid for bail is confiscated by the court. If the defendant
has borrowed, the bail bond company will not be able to recover their money if the defendant
doesn’t comply with court proceedings.
What is a Bail Hearing
After someone is arrested, a judge or other court official determines the amount of the deposit
and other conditions for their release from prison. Factors to be considered when determining
bail include flight risk, and other risks of criminal activity to the public. Factors that can be
advantageous when deciding bail include a lack of prior criminal history and connections to the
The possible rulings during a bail hearing include:
Release on Own Recognizance – A defendant is released from jail after signing an
agreement that acts as a promise that they will return to court while also abiding by other
Personal Bond – The defendant is released after signing a bond which acts as an
agreement that they will be fully liable for additional penalties if they fail to return to
Bail Set with Terms of Release – In this case, the defendant is allowed to go free if they
post bail to the court at a specified amount that can be taken care of personally, or by
obtaining support form a bail bond agency.
Denial of Bail – The defendant is deemed too high of a risk by the court, and will not be
The Role of Bail Bond Companies
In many cases, bail is set in an amount that is beyond the financial capacity of the average
person. Bail bond companies are a for-profit service that provides a way for people to cover the
cost of bail by paying a nonrefundable fee in exchange for coverage of the entire bail amount. By
signing a contract with a defendant, a bail bond company can work with them to secure their
release by covering the cost of bail and handling all associated paperwork. Because this puts a
bail bond company at risk for a large amount of money if the defendant fails to appear in court,
they will often take extra measures to be sure that every step of the process is handled correctly
by themselves, and by the defendant.
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